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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chainsaw Artist

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I stopped along route 220 in Boones Mill to see if the guy who makes the wooden statues I’ve been driving by for years, would be willing to allow me to tell his story.

Dwayne Hodges said he'd be more than happy to show us how he makes woodland creatures and hillbilly figures using a chainsaw. That's akin to cooking a gourmet dinner on a bunch of hot rocks. Yet Dwayne does this day after day for tourists and gift buyers who are lovers of wooden bears, amazed at the chainsaw craftsmanship or both.

What’s amazing is that ANYONE can do this. Start with a log and end up with a bear.

Clearly there is a system in play here. Cut here, then there, then this way. Notch here, notch there, and pretty soon you’ve roughed out a critter.

I asked Dwayne if he saw himself as an artist. He gave me a qualified, “maybe,” admitting that he’s done so many bears that he doesn’t even think about it anymore.

But then he talks about custom work people ask him to do at their homes. They’ll ask him to turn a stump into something or other. Then there’s the log in front of his shop that will become a totem pole for the Boy Scouts. The Scouts will choose the critters.

Think you could do that with a chainsaw?

Me neither.

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